US 7257593 B2
A system and method for categorizing a document in a document management system, wherein said document management system comprises a tree of nodes, and enables a document to be categorized in a plurality of nodes. Each node has a category label indicative of a document category. Unique vocabulary terms are listed wherein each vocabulary term represents only one node in the tree and comprises that node's category label. A checkbox is provided for each of the vocabulary terms whereby a user may select one or more vocabulary term by checking a corresponding checkbox. From the checked terms, a set of vocabulary terms is generated for associating a document with all of the nodes corresponding to the selected vocabulary terms.
1. A computer implemented method for categorizing a document, comprising
receiving an indication from a user to categorize a document including text;
determining a plurality of vocabulary terms, each term representative of a category in which a document can be categorized;
in response to the indication, displaying the plurality of vocabulary terms;
filtering the plurality of vocabulary terms based on user specified criteria;
displaying a plurality of selectors, a selector being associated with each one of the plurality of vocabulary terms matching the user specified criteria;
accepting input indicating selection of at least one of the plurality of vocabulary terms matching the user specified criteria when said selector is selected;
creating an association between the selected vocabulary terms and said document.
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11. A system for categorizing a document in a document management system, comprising:
a computer-readable memory comprising at least one module executable on a computer for: receiving from a user an indication to categorize a document including text;
generating a plurality of vocabulary terms;
providing the plurality of vocabulary terms to a display device wherein the vocabulary terms are listed along with a plurality of selectors, a selector being provided for each of the vocabulary terms so that a user may select at least one vocabulary term; and
associating the document with all of a categories corresponding to the selected vocabulary terms wherein the document may be stored in association with the categories.
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This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/538,020, filed Mar. 29, 2000 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,658,406.
The present invention relates generally to systems and methods for managing, selecting, and adding terms from large lists of terms. More particularly for use in managing and selecting document categories from a list of category terms for use in document management.
As the amount of information stored by computer systems continues its exponential growth, companies are developing sophisticated information organization methods to aid users in both the storage and retrieval of that information. For example, the simple hierarchical file storage methods wherein files are stored within nested layers of folders makes the task of retrieving files difficult as the number and variety of stored files grows. This difficulty is compounded when files are stored and shared across groups of users, companies, organizations, and so on. Newer techniques, such as those used by document management systems, Intranet systems, Internet systems, etc., often supplement or supplant the simple, hierarchical file system with a category-based approach. Unlike the simple, hierarchical file systems, category-based systems are organized as a tree structure having many category nodes. Documents are indexed in multiple categories so that they may be found by way of multiple category nodes. As a result, different users can locate the same file while applying different logic in their respective searches for the file.
However, while such systems simplify the retrieval of documents, they may add complexity when storing and categorizing documents. For instance, in order for readers/browsers to be able to easily find a previously created document, it should be locatable in a number of different categories, e.g., a document may be categorized by document type (specification, manual, etc.), by content type, by project, and so on. It is advantageous if the creator/editor/author of the document can provide input about the proper categorization, as those most familiar with the content are most likely to accurately judge which categorization is most relevant. In order for the author to participate and for the categorization to be meaningful, the categorization process should be as easy and as comprehensive as possible. But as a particular document system grows in complexity and number of categories, the categorization task can become daunting. The present invention provides a system and methods that address the shortcomings of previous systems.
Along with these newer organizational techniques, categorization tools are necessary to ease the burden of properly indexing a document across multiple categories. To that end, the invention provides users with the tools to quickly tag a document with indexing information (metadata) to make the document easier to locate. To facilitate decentralized document management, an author of a document is encouraged to categorize the document (e.g., at the time of document creation). The present invention provides a user interface that permits the user to quickly and efficiently select all or many of the relevant categories into which the document should be indexed. The invention provides the user with tools to search and select predefined category paths from a large list of such paths.
The system and method facilitates user categorization of a document into a plurality of categories by displaying a list of vocabulary terms, each term representative of a category. A check box associated with each vocabulary term is displayed alongside each term. A user than indicates acceptance of vocabulary terms by selecting its check box. All of the selected terms are provided for association of the document with each category whose corresponding vocabulary term was selected. In this way, a user can quickly and efficiently cause a document to be associated with many relevant categories and thereby aid in later location and retrieval of the document.
According to an aspect of the invention, finding relevant entries in the list of vocabularies is aided by the use of search strings and dynamic filtering. By entering a string, e.g., “win”, the user is presented with a list of all category paths matching (case-insensitive) the regular expression “win” anywhere in the string. In this way, the set of all categories can be quickly filtered to a smaller subset that contains the text of interest.
The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, is better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings exemplary constructions of the invention; however, the invention should not limited to the specific methods and instrumentalities disclosed. In the drawings:
The present invention addresses the need for a system and method for categorizing documents so that the document can be more easily shared, located, and retrieved. To aid in the location and retrieval of documents, it is useful to both add information (e.g. search terms) to the document to enhance searching and to categorize the document into a plurality of categories. Moreover in document management systems, it is useful to predefine both the information to be added to the document (i.e., the metadata schema) and the categories. In this way, users of the system add documents to the system in a consistent fashion. According to the invention, the information to be added and the categories of the documents are presented to the user as text strings.
Lists of such text strings are referred to herein as vocabularies. In the case of categories, the vocabulary is unique because its list of terms actually represents a hierarchy. The vocabulary corresponding to the hierarchy is constructed by pre-pending the full path to each node. For example, the vocabulary Projects:Software:Windows represents the path to the category node Windows. For any given document management system, there may be hundreds of such category nodes. The invention aids a user in selecting relevant category node values from long lists of such vocabularies.
Existing user interfaces for choosing list items use a simple heuristic for helping users find a particular item. For example, the list may be sorted alphabetically, and as the user types in the letters of the item they wish to find, the interface scrolls to the closest matching items in the list. This heuristic fails for hierarchical values (such as a category vocabulary), because the alphabetical sorting would group items based on their shallowest, or top-most, parent in the hierarchy. Users, on the other hand, will most often be interested in the deepest, or bottom-most, items in the hierarchy. Using the example above, a user looking for the category “Windows” will most likely type “Windows”, rather than “Projects:Software:Windows”.
Exemplary Operating Environment
1. A Computer Environment
As shown in
A number of program modules may be stored on the hard disk, magnetic disk 29, optical disk 31, ROM 24 or RAM 25, including an operating system 35, one or more application programs 36, other program modules 37 and program data 38. A user may enter commands and information into the personal computer 20 through input devices such as a keyboard 40 and pointing device 42. Other input devices (not shown) may include a microphone, joystick, game pad, satellite disk, scanner or the like. These and other input devices are often connected to the processing unit 21 through a serial port interface 46 that is coupled to the system bus, but may be connected by other interfaces, such as a parallel port, game port or universal serial bus (USB). A monitor 47 or other type of display device is also connected to the system bus 23 via an interface, such as a video adapter 48. In addition to the monitor 47, personal computers typically include other peripheral output devices (not shown), such as speakers and printers.
The personal computer 20 may operate in a networked environment using logical connections to one or more remote computers, such as a remote computer 49. The remote computer 49 may be another personal computer, a server, a router, a network PC, a peer device or other common network node, and typically includes many or all of the elements described above relative to the personal computer 20, although only a memory storage device 50 has been illustrated in
When used in a LAN networking environment, the personal computer 20 is connected to the local network 51 through a network interface or adapter 53. When used in a WAN networking environment, the personal computer 20 typically includes a modem 54 or other means for establishing communications over the wide area network 52, such as the Internet. The modem 54, which may be internal or external, is connected to the system bus 23 via the serial port interface 46. In a networked environment, program modules depicted relative to the personal computer 20, or portions thereof, may be stored in the remote memory storage device. It will be appreciated that the network connections shown are exemplary and other means of establishing a communications link between the computers may be used.
2. A Network Environment
Client computers 20 a and server computer 20 b are connected to the communications network by way of communications interfaces 82. Communications interfaces 82 can be any one of the well-known communications interfaces such as Ethernet connections, modem connections, DLS connections and so on. Communications interfaces 82 may also be by way of an intermediate communications network such as a LAN.
According to aspects of the present invention, users of client computers 20 a may generate documents (e.g., DOCA 10 a, DOCB 10 b) that must be stored for later retrieval for editing, viewing, and the like. The generic term user(s) is used herein to designate all users of the system; however, in practice user may be distinguished into different classes depending on his or her particular use. For example, a user may be a producer of documents (i.e., an author/editor/creator), a consumer (i.e. a reader trying to find particular documents), or both. As used herein, the term document refers to any file that contains data and can be contain text, graphics, special codes, or a combination of some or all of these. To facilitate document management, the documents generated by client computers 20 a are stored in DOC storage 70 and are thus transmitted to server computer 20 b over communications network 80. Server computer 20 b then determines the proper storage of the documents in DOC storage 70.
In addition to the generation of documents, users of client computers 20 a may also desire to share documents with other users. In order to retrieve documents generated by other users, users make requests to server computer 20 b for documents stored in DOC storage 70. Server computer 20 b then retrieves the requested documents and transmits them back to the requesting user's client computer 20 a by way of communications network 80. As is described more fully below, the users' requests for documents may take the form of queries wherein they ask for documents having selected properties. Hence, users of client computers 20 a may submit queries (e.g., Q1 11 a, QN 11 n,) that are transmitted server computer 20 b over communications network 80. Documents which match the selected queries are then returned to the requesting computer.
In order to facilitate document management and retrieval, it is important that as much descriptive information as is feasible to be associated with a document. According to an aspect of the invention, much of this information should be provided by the creator/editor of the document and it is best added to the document contemporaneously with its creation/edit rather than at a later time or by a person other than the creator/editor. Hence, a system for easing the burden placed on the user of adding additional information to the document at the creation/edit stage would increase the likelihood that the additional information will be associated with the document, and will further be highly relevant by virtue of being entered contemporaneously with document creation.
After the user selects one of a predefined document profile (shown as “spec” in this example) from drop-down box 141, the user associates additional information by selecting the area drop down box 142. By selecting the area drop down box 142, the user is presented with a list of word phrases that describe aspects of the document. The user may select various ones of the areas by checking the associated checkboxes 142 a.
Although it is beyond the scope of the invention, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the list of words and phrases presented, such as those presented here in area drop down box 142, can be predefined for a plurality of document profiles. A typical document management system would likely be configured by the document management administrator or similarly authorized person to define various profiles that correspond to their particular needs.
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In addition to adding additional information to documents to facilitate later retrieval of the documents, it is also important that a user maintain documents in locations that aid later retrieval. This could be accomplished by storing the document in multiple locations; however, this presents obvious drawbacks in maintaining the various copies of the same file. The invention overcomes this problem by facilitating the appearance of a document located in multiple locations even though the document is actually stored in one physical location.
Said another way, consider the case of a common, file-folder taxonomy wherein users maintain various hierarchical file folders. For example, a user may have folders to separate personal files from business files. Furthermore, within each of these folders, the user may further distinguish by keeping one file for each project and within each project folder a user may further organize the files by creating further distinguishing folders. When storing a file, typically, a user will choose a single folder among the various folders and place the document in that folder. If the user chooses to place a document in more than one folder, the document may be easier to locate but the integrity of the document will be questionable as it may not reflect all of the changes made to presumably identical files in other folders. This difficulty would be compounded if multiple users had access to the files.
In contrast to the file-folder taxonomy, a branch/node taxonomy provides a hierarchical taxonomy that is designed to physically store the file in one location while granting access to it through various nodes in the taxonomy.
Each node is addressable according to its path in the hierarchical taxonomy. This path is created by traversing the branches connecting subject node 154 with ancestor nodes (i.e., grandparent and parent) and descendent nodes (i.e., children and grandchildren). This path, called a node path or category path, may be written in the form “grandparent:parent:subject node:child.” By employing such a standard, the relation of the nodes to subject node 154 immediately is apparent, regardless of the node's displayed titles. Notably, the display may have multiple levels of grandparents (i.e., “great grandparents”) as well as multiple levels of grandchildren (i.e., “great grandchildren”).
The tree organization is preferably designed, employed, and controlled by a document management administrator or similarly authorized person. In this example, the tree is organized into two groups of leaves (i.e. Index Server, Babylon, and PQS in the first group and Localization, PKM Lab, and User Education in the second group). The leaves have parent nodes (i.e. Projects for the first group and Cross-project teams for the second group) and grandparent nodes (i.e. Development for both groups).
In accordance with the present invention a document may be logically associated with a plurality of categories (i.e. nodes) in the branch/node taxonomy. In such a system users should be encouraged to associate a document with all categories that make logical sense. Thus, as other users search for such documents, they should be able to easily locate it by looking in a category that is logically related to a property of the document.
As a particular taxonomy grows in size, the number of vocabulary terms will also grow. Hence, a user may have to select logical categories for a document by selecting a large number of vocabulary terms. According to the invention, the vocabulary is provided in a category list 143 having a corresponding check box for each vocabulary term. Preferably, the list is provided in a drop down box. As a user selects vocabulary terms such as by checking the associated check box 143 a, the selected term moves to the top of the list of terms, denoted here as “Selected Items.”
After the user has selected all of the appropriate vocabulary terms, the selected vocabulary terms are preferably transmitted to the server computer 20 b (see
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, certain illustrated embodiments have been shown in the drawings and accompanying detailed description. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific constructions disclosed herein. For example, although the user interface system was described in connection with a document management system, the present invention is by no means limited to such as system, but could be useful in any system wherein a user must sort through large lists of items and make multiple selections. As such, the invention is intended to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the scope and spirit of the invention.